View Master Memories

Do you recognize this?

If you are anywhere near my age, I’m guess you do. Today in this Chaz Story we’re going to take a step back in time to remember this childhood toy that transported us to beautiful lands and happy adventures from the comforts of home.

This is, of course my old View Master viewer. The original 3D viewer. They still make them. But for me, back when I was a kid growing up in a remote Montana small town, this was my magic carpet that took me to places and adventures I could only dream of. 

I still have View Master slides and reels that go back almost 60 years. Here’s one called “Man on the Moon” made in 1964 when actually putting a man on the moon was still five years into the future.

Ah, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. I wonder what this reel is worth!  Here’s an old Quick Draw McGraw reel. Doesn’t that take you back!

But the Crown Jewels of my old collection are my Disneyland slides.

Of course nothing beats actually viewing them through the View Master viewer.

These are in 3D and clear. If there were a way to film for you what I’m seeing, I’d love to share it. If you have ideas, drop me a note in the comments section down below. 

Every ViewMaster pack had three slide discs in them and each disc had seven photos. They are labeled “Disc 1, disc 2, disc 3 “— 21 3D  pictures in all. 

I suspect we all had our own particular approaches to going through them. The first picture of the first disc was like opening the first present under the tree as a kid on Christmas morning — great fun and you knew it was only the beginning.

There’s even a happy memory of pushing down the lever — the sound, the feel, the new picture. Pushing the lever turned the disc and when you hit the bottom, the new 3D image was in place. I used to like to push the lever down slowly to watch the old 3D picture become separated and then slowly see the new one come together to form the new 3D image.

There were always mixed feelings as you progress through the discs. The first one was easier to race through because you knew you still had two more to go. But at the same time, you knew there were only 21 and you wanted to get the most out of each image. Once I finished the 7 images of the first disc, there was — for me — both exciting anticipation to see the next disc right away but also a hint of sadness that my adventure was one third over.

The second disc was almost like mid-life — relaxed, soaking in the moment. If there was one or two images I particularly liked, I’d go back through the disc a second time and enjoy them a little longer before starting the third disc.

For me, the last disc was almost inevitably a little — a little — less fun because I knew my adventures were coming to an end with each drop of the right forefinger. I almost always went back and viewed all seven pictures again when I finished the last disc. 

Once I finished that third disc, I’d start again and go through the whole set again in order, pausing a little longer to study the details of my favorite images. Then I’d be done, though more times than not I’d pull out another older set or two and step back into those frames, too.

View Master slides were always — to borrow from Harry Potter — something of a port key that transports the viewer from wherever they are to another place, another world. For me, and hopefully for you, it’s a feel-good memory to make your day today just a little warmer and happier.

How about you? Did you have a View Master and discs you remember? Any favorites? Share them in the comments section below. I would love to hear about them. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.